The last book launch I had was at the turn of the century, and a very different affair. This was for my Young Adult novel: "For Maritsa with Love". Set in Paris in the 80s, it's the story of a Romanian gypsy girl who's a professional beggar on the Metro, and Simon & Schuster thought it was going to be a best seller, so they pulled out all the stops. The launch happened in a very grand central London hotel, and the wines came from a prestigious French wine merchant who sent along an expert to introduce them. The nibbles were far more than that, and prepared by a chef. There were even small chocolates with the letter 'M' embossed on them. My lovely David was there with me, thoroughly enjoying the whole thing. And me? I was both elated, gobsmacked and terrified.
This time was very different. The wines were supermarket, and so were the nibbles, which were mostly crisps (my current publisher does not have Simon & Schuster's budget). We put sugar mice on the table, which made it look festive and relevant. Local friends and neighbours (with their children) turned up, and also, touchingly, my publicist from that previous launch, who is a local man. Again I was terrified, but this time, terrified of doing the whole thing alone, without the guy who'd meant so much to me. I was pleased to get the publicity for the book, and my publisher's approval, but elation was absent. My daughter, son and grandchildren were all there rooting for me, but it wasn't the same, and my inner turmoil produced physical symptoms which stress so often does, and which lasted for the rest of the week. The book shop owner, who is also a personal friend, was fantastic, though, and I believe she sold lots of books that evening.
"For Maritsa with Love" went out of print within less than two years. I'm hoping my 'mouse' will have greater longevity, but who knows? I want to re-issue 'Maritsa' as an ebook, but I'm holding back, because I feel it's an important work, and there has been a tiny breath of film interest. I'm also disenchanted, at present, with the ebook scene, because I sell very little (none at all so far in October), and these are all traditionally published books, with impressive cover images. While I still had David, we often spoke of self-publishing some of my work which never made it publishing-wise, but without his expertise, and with the knowledge that my eleven professionally edited and well presented children's books don't seem to be getting anywhere, I'm reluctant to even attempt to do this.